SJU Criticized for Mayor Nutter Commencement Speech

Conservative Catholic group says it's "scandalous" for Jesuit university to feature Nutter.

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

A conservative Catholic organization is criticizing St. Joseph’s University, saying it is “scandalous” that SJU is featuring Mayor Michael Nutter as a graduation speaker this year.

The university is one of eight Catholic schools being singled out by the Cardinal Newman Society for featuring speakers whose beliefs or actions it deems at odds with Catholic teaching.

About Nutter, the society says:

Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Penn., will host Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter as the undergraduate commencement speaker and present him with an honorary degree on May 16. Earlier this year, Nutter officiated a ceremony granting marriage rights at Philadelphia City Hall to a same-sex couple— Israeli diplomat Elad Strohmeyer and his partner. According to the Jewish Exponent, Strohmeyer called the mayor’s involvement a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” and cited Nutter’s legacy of promoting “LGBT interests in Philadelphia.” In 2011, Nutter launched a campaign to provide free condoms to youth in Philadelphia. In May 2013, Nutter touted the fact that Philadelphia offers “safe” abortion services in the wake of the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

The university has announced Nutter will receive an honorary doctorate degree during the commencement ceremony.